FBI mix-up grounds young Turkish archer

Published 09.06.2015 01:10

A Turkish archer from the country's national team who was to compete at a championship in the U.S. failed to show up at the tournament, as his name sounded similar to a suspect on the Federal Bureau of Investigation's (FBI) most-wanted list.

Ahmet Mert Kuruş was to compete at the World Archery Youth Championships in Yankton, South Dakota, which is being held from June 8-14, as part of the Turkish team. His teammates were granted visas to travel to the U.S. last week, but Kuruş was not issued a visa. Upon inquiring, he discovered his name was similar to the name of a suspect wanted by the FBI, which was the reason he was denied a visa. He learned that the visa procedure would take more than one month under the circumstances, and Kuruş contacted the Turkish Archery Federation. The Foreign Ministry was informed about the issue and he was finally issued a visa, but only three days after the tournament had already begun. "I will not be able to compete now even if I catch a flight today," he said yesterday. "I have been abroad many times before for tournaments, but this is the first time I have been denied a visa."

The athlete said he had high hopes for the tournament, and was deeply disappointed when he was denied entry to the U. S. I was all worked up for the tournament. I have been training throughout the year and even skipped classes for training. All of it has gone to waste," Kuruş said.

Abdullah Topaloğlu, head of the Turkish Archery Federation, said they occasionally faced visa problems for events in the U.S. "Many athletes, including archers from India, were also denied visas. It is unfortunate. The competition was an important event for our archers. We've already filed a complaint to the World Archery Federation and urged them not to host tournaments in the U.S., as we have faced many problems regarding entry in the past. I believe our complaints will be reconsidered after this latest incident," he said.

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